Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sin and Broccoli

"I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me."

I Cor. 4:4

Never saw this verse before, but yesterday it jumped out and cracked me up. It's an eloquent way of saying, "Just because I don't see my sin doesn't mean I'm innocent."

It's kind of like having broccoli between your teeth that you can't feel. Suddenly you smile and everyone else knows what you had for dinner. God, please hand me the mirror of your Word whenever I have broccoli in the teeth of my life.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Say Hi to Kelly

Kelly and Toby are in our care group. I just found out they have a blog. It's been around awhile; how come I never knew? Anyway, stop by and say hi to the lady I call "Pioneer Woman" for her love of doing things I've only read about in Little House books. Toby's British accent makes him the one we always choose to read the Bible aloud.

Their blog is called Wildlife and Home.

I'm So Excited

I haven't been this excited in a long time. Can't wait to tell ya'll why. August 1st is the date I hope to "tell all" but in the meantime, I'll try to plan for things less exciting, like cleaning my bedroom closet. That's a high priority on my list of summer goals.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Latest tag, revised

Beth tagged me. (Thank you! It makes me feel special. Doesn't take much, huh?)

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Trying to conceive baby number 4
Watching all of my kids play on various sports teams in the spring and summer
Trying to sell our house in Dundalk to move to Harford County

Favorite Snacks
chips and salsa
string cheese

To Do List

I like adding stuff to my to-do list after I've done it just so that I can cross it off.
Today my list consisted of cleaning the little bath, sweeping and mopping the k. floor, washing whites, dusting the whole first level, and assigning the rest of the chores to the kids! After that my list was mental: go to Sandy Cove for an afternoon of swimming and trying to tan my white skin.

Jobs I Have Had
runway model (I first typed "runaway model" which is more like it)
presidential press secretary

Places I Have Lived
Aberdeen, MD
Edgewood, MD
Baltimore, MD
Alden, KS
Greensburg, PA
Towson, MD
Dundalk, MD
Abingdon, MD

Bad Habits
almost everything I do is in excess

5 Random Things People May Not Know about me
1. I save a whole lot of greeting cards. I mean a whole lot. Words mean so much to me.
2. I can sleep almost anywhere but not on my back.
3. I love to swim.
4. I would rather take a missions trip than a vacation.
5. I crack myself up daily but my family just doesn't appreciate good humor when they see it unless it's written on the side of an ice cream truck.

CD I would want if stranded on an island
Rich Mullins' "The World as Best as I
Remember It"

What I’d Do if I Were a Billionaire
This one's tough. I can't fathom a billion dollars, let alone figure out how to spend it. But, getting started would be easy: Tithe a cool million
I wouldn't know what to do with the rest.
Just kidding. I would pay off our debts, pray about paying off the medical debts of people I love.
and pay off any debts our church currently has.
I would travel a lot and make it financially possible to take with me those who wanted to go along. My first choices would be returning to Russia (missions), going to Italy (third honeymoon), wherever my good friend Barb wanted to go (girls' month out), and invest in real estate in my favorite destinations or places to house missionaries.
I would pay the kids' tuitions, but still make them pay for their books and incidentals.
I would replace my knees, maybe get laser eye surgery, get new arches in my feet and have my heel spurs removed, and invent a non-surgical, non-sweating, non-food-depriving way to have the body I want.
I would have fresh flowers in the house every day in every room.
I would hire maids and landscapers and personal massage therapists on call 24/6.
I would hire a chef to cook for the family when I wanted that, and to provide the ingredients and training to me when I wanted to do it myself.
I would buy motivation to do all the things I haven't had it for up till now. Maybe then the back of our basement would get dejunked.

It's a good thing I'm not a billionaire. I'm plenty selfish without a boatload of money!

I tag you if you are between the ages of 19 and 39.

Little Jair Died

Yesterday morning a young boy passed from the arms of his parents into the arms of Jesus.

You can see his picture and something sweet my Sarah wrote about him.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Watch for Watches, Please

Theme Girl here gearing up for the Ladies' Christmas Breakfast. I thought of a theme just after last year's breakfast. It will be something along the lines of "watch for Christ's second coming."

I want to use ladies' watches as napkin rings. I already have three. Need 8 total. What I'm looking for are watches with fairly thin bands and metal faces (think "feminine and classy"). If you have one that doesn't work or you don't want back, please consider donating it to me. I don't want to be held responsible for breaking or losing anything.

Also, if you see a sundial that would make a cool centerpiece, let me know! Otherwise I'll be grouping small clocks on the table. (I would glady return a sundial to you if you happen to own one.)

Yard sales, thrift stores, and junk drawers are sources you might consider. I'm looking for free stuff or not more than a dollar per watch. Please keep this request in mind as you're out and about over the next few months, will you? Thanks!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Urgent Prayer Request: A Little Boy is Dying

Jair is a little boy in Mexico, the son of missionaries associated with Rancho 3M.

He had been gravely ill with cancer and his parents were told to prepare for his death. He needed chemo that would cost $15,000 but all they had was $3,000. They requested prayer for the funds and within a day had $19,000. from God's generous people.

That was about a month ago. They gave him the chemo, he rallied, was declared cancer-free, started living like a normal 8-year old, but then , in the past couple of days we received word that he apparently has had a near-fatal allergic reaction to one of his follow-up medications. Little Jair's organs have been shutting down. His parents stand at his bedside waiting for either his death or another miracle.

I have been praying for a second miracle. After all, if Jesus raised Jairus's daughter from the dead (read your New Testament for proof), surely he can heal Jair.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Being Emptied, Part 2

As I closed my eyes in prayer, God gave me a vision in preparation for this cathartic, healing, redemptive act about to take me from mourning to rejoicing. The vision was that of a checklist on a large projection screen under bright lights in a dark room. The only viewers were God and me. The lefthand column contained a list of my own idols--substitutes for loving God with all my heart and soul. This list of idols could have been titled "What I Have Been Trying to Find Satisfying." He showed me relationships, objects, gifts, talents, memories, hobbies, activities, and plans. Things that, honestly, I do find satisfying... for awhile. (And if it edifies someone else, even for awhile, I justify, then it's okay.) Then I'm on to something else. Or I'm angry that whatever or whoever I was putting so much effort into when they disappointed me. Worst of all --in my book--I don't deserve to be disappointed over and over.

On the righthand side of the screen were the words "or Me?" and was accompanied by a voice I recognized as God's. My eyes would scan the list one by one. It wasn't that each of the things in my list was wrong of itself. For example, "Paul? ....................or Me?" I knew He wasn't asking me to give Paul up, but give up expecting him to fulfill me as only my Eternal Husband can.
"The kids?.........or Me?" Could I still bless God if He took one of them from me? I love them, Lord, but I do love You more. "The house?......or Me?" Dear Jesus, I love my house, it's my home, but I'd rather have You! "Art? Shopping? Food?.....or Me?" Take them all, dear God, but don't take Your Spirit from me. I can handle anything as long as I have you!"

This encounter reminded me of one Jesus had with Peter a couple thousand years ago. "Do you love Me more than these?"

The list on my screen was short because God is merciful. Yet it seemed incredibly long to me. And really, really ugly. Really, really offensive. I hate to admit it, but seldom do I realize how my own sin (not the sin of "the world" or of "other people") repulses God. Seldom do I genuinely confess that my sin alone was enough to drive nails through Jesus's hands and cause God to turn His face from His own dear Son. Sure, I hear about it all the time, but sadly it's often close to being another churchy cliche' when it lands on my ears. Our pastors do a wonderful job of emphasizing both personal sin and the mercy of God, but honestly I'm quick to skim over the former to get to the latter.

This time was different. This time I didn't try to rename my sins or classify them as being "big" or "little," or "against others"or "against God" in my usual effort to minimize their impact on me. No, this time God let me feel a tiny bit of the impact sin had--and has-- on Him. If this tiny bit of the whole of my sin--one person's!--feels like a crushing tsunami, I can't bear to think what all of my sin did to Jesus. I can't bear it, I can not bear it; that's true. Jesus bore it. Only He could. It's too great for a human. At least God keeps His face toward me. He turned it away from Jesus on the cross. I've never known what it's like to have God's back toward me. He resists my pride, yes, but he never forsakes me.

After what was probably just a few minutes of meditating and grieving, I asked God's forgiveness for the idolatry I had seen on that "screen." In an instant my shame was gone. I was forgiven.

I felt a new rush of water. This one wasn't salty and crushing like a tsunami. It was fresh and uplifting. Suddenly I was transported from a dark room to a river raft, dangling my bare feet over the sides into cool water under a summer sun. Ahh, refreshing. I was free. I was in love again with my sweet Jesus. Rejoicing, I fell asleep in peace.

Thank You, God, for Your mercy. Thank you for revealing what I needed to see and then forgiving me of it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Being Emptied , Part I

Sadness swept over me and crushed me like a tsunami a few nights ago. I wanted to take a deep breath and then exhale, hoping it would subside. But the more I tried to squelch it, the harder it slammed against the walls of my spirit. I didn't feel depressed. (I know what that monster feels like.) This was not self-condemning. It wasn't a reaction to traumatic news because I hadn't had any. Sure, all three of my sons had been injured--two seriously--in less than two weeks, but the sadness didn't worsen upon rehearsing those events. I wondered about PMS, but I wasn't irritable. Was I still disappointed that I hadn't seen the 4th of July parade as I had really wanted this year, to salute veterans? A little, but not enough to cry about it! Neither was I "beyond tired" nor did my feet hurt any worse than usual. I didn't think I was angry with anyone (and anger is usually followed by tears with me). There were no tears. Just sadness.

But why? I didn't know, but I wanted to know. It seemed like God was in this moment (and by that I don't mean He's absent from some moments, but most of my crying is from selfishness. This was different.) It felt like this burst of sadness could be a healing of sorts. Cathartic. Redemptive.

I brushed my teeth and went to bed.

"Father God, I am so sad. I just feel like I could cry a river right now and still be sad. Please have mercy. Please help me understand this," I prayed. "If it's just to let out pent-up emotions that I've been storing up, okay, but I don't want to wake up Paul. Or maybe I do. But he wouldn't want to wake up." I sensed this was between God and me, anyway. Not between Paul and me.

At that moment, I sensed the presence of God's Spirit very close. It was a holy moment. If I weren't already barefoot, I would've taken off my shoes.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Angel in a Parking Lot

Lately I've been reminiscing about family vacations, mainly because they're getting harder to schedule with adult children. Grace-filled nostalgia is a wonderful thing and I can find it in all of our trips. (The fact that we all came home without disowning one another is grace in itself.) One of our vacations, however, stands out as the one I encountered what I believe was a true angel. I don't mean just a really nice, good person, a "dear" or even a cherubic looking Victorian thing. I mean someone sent from heaven by God in human form for a specific moment with a message and/or help in a critical moment.

The year was 1993. My Granny Tola was turning 80 on September 3rd, and wanted nothing more and nothing less than to sit in the studio of one of Pat Robertson's "700 Club" tapings. She was coming from Kansas by plane and we from Maryland by car and she was paying for our two nights' stay in the luxurious Founder's Inn on the 700 Club Campus. The kids were 5, 4, and 2.

We stopped at McDonald's for breakfast. That was our first mistake. I'm sure God stations angels at their grills just to keep folks from instant cardiacs, but I digress. Paul came out feeling a bit sick and wanted me to drive while he rested in the back seat, wedged between two car seats. I think we let Ben ride up front. Twenty minutes later he wanted me to find a place to pull over. I figured it was just the usual 20-minutes-post-MickeyD's pit stop.

Within ten minutes he was almost too weak to force the issue. "Zo, please, I need help." Normally I would've laughed, "We all need help after Egg McMuffins," but his voice was not kidding. I turned around and he could barely keep his head up. He was clutching his chest. That's when I panicked. "What's wrong, honey? Paul?? !!" He didn't know. All I could think of was that his mom and brother had died suddenly of ruptured aortas and Hopkins had tested the whole family after the second death. Paul's aorta was (is) enlarged. "Dear God, no, " I prayed silently "don't take Paul." I scanned every road sign for a big H. We needed a hospital and had no clue where we were, really.

"I'm looking, babe. I don't see any hospital signs. What's the matter? Does your chest hurt? Are you gonna throw up? Pass out? What?"

He couldn't muster the energy to say.

That's when I believe God directed me to take an exit that I thought, "No way." It was either Shadyside or Shadybrook and looked like it would lead to farmland or a rinky-dink town. But I trusted God. I pulled into the first place where I saw people: a tiny church. They were milling around the parking lot. The time was almost 10 a.m. on a weekday. They were all dressed up. Maybe for a funeral, but not for a Bible study.

I jumped out of the car and asked a woman "where's the nearest hospital?" She wasn't sure there was one near. A second person knew there was one under construction, but whether it was open for business? Not sure. My palms were sweating, and I could hear my own pulse.
I raced to the basement of the church where they said the secretary was. She knew the hospital was open but gave lousy directions. You know, every landmark possible on a straight shot road?
Nearly in tears, I thanked her and felt I'd have to do the best I could but I was confused with lefts, rights, barns, fences, all that hooha.

Then I rushed back to the car . Beside us was a man in a tweed coat. He stood next to a late model dark car. I don't remember even asking him for directions. But he said, "Miss, you'll turn right out of this parking lot, go one mile, and the new hospital is on the right."

"Thank you!" I blurted. I jumped into the car, put it in reverse, turned to wave to him, but he was gone.

"Where did he go?" I asked Paul. "He just told me how to get there and was reaching back into his car for glasses. But where is he? And where's that dark car?" Paul was too out of it to track with me.

I pulled out, turned right, went a mile exactly, and there was a hospital! It was so new there was hardly a soul there, so we got right in to see a doctor. They ran a battery of tests. Nothing wrong.
During the wait, Paul was gaining strength, his color was returning, and he was handling the insurance questions despite the fact I said, "It's okay, I got it. Just relax." I felt such a peace. Even the children had been perfectly behaved and weren't asking a million questions about daddy or "when are we gonna get there?"

I remember checking into a motel (we couldn't afford a hotel and couldn't make it to Virginia Beach on time after our delay) and Sarah playing nurse. We had an ACE bandage with us (we carry them like gum or mints on vacation). She knew her Daddy was sick somehow, so she wrapped his leg from thigh to calf and "pwayed for" him. It was so sweet.

Never have I felt so encountered by an angel. Never have I doubted it was an angel in that country church parking lot.

And to top it off, not only did Granny get to sit in the studio, Pat Robertson announced it was her birthday, brought her up on stage, and gave her a big Southern bear hug! She died two years later almost to the day, a happy woman.

How about you? Got any "definitely was an angel" story of your own? If it's post-able, please post!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Please Pray for my Mom

I saw my mom this morning where she teaches a Bible study. (She had invited Joel to play with Yoel Blum, a boy from Israel who's currently with his parents on vacation. Thankfully he has learned better English because we've been a bit lax in tutoring Joel in Hebrew.)

Anyway, my mom looked very, very pale and was shuffling along the parking lot.

"Mama, you don't look well. Are you okay?"
"No, I'm not okay."
"You look anemic."
"I am."
"Do you want some blush?"
"No, I want some red blood cells." She had enough energy to chuckle.
"Sorry, I don't have any in my purse," I said, trying to console her.

Under my humor, I was really, really sad. I divert my deep-down pain with laughter a lot. It's good medicine for both of us.

Thankfully my next stop was Aldi, not that they sell cells, but they do sell spinach and other iron-rich food. I decided to pick up stuff specifically for an extra big dinner tonight and ask later if they'd like to come. I figured, if nothing else, she could use a break from hosting dinners and my house could use a good cleaning!

Well, all it took was an offer. She doesn't know if she and Daddy will come (she is really weak) but would appreciate a meal served to the Blums.
Please pray for my mom. I don't why it is that she seems to always be at her weakest when she's hosting people. Pray for me, too, while you're at it. My emotions get shaky when either of parents suffers. I find that my emotions curl up in fetal position. Thankfully God has given me an outlet to serve them (my parents, not my emotions) through my kitchen. (Well, come to think of it, I do serve my emotions in the kitchen, but that's a whole 'nother post!) I wish I could serve up a tray of red blood cells. No, I guess I'm glad I can't. Spinach looks far more appetizing in a salad. I'll be sure to send some home to Mama.

Time to hop off of here and set the table. The Blums took the two Yoels and Stephen swimming at Conowingo this afternoon. I'm sure the water rats will be ready for grilled chicken and homemade mac 'n cheese when they get here!

Quick & Easy No-Bake Blueberry Pie

Danielle featured the recipe for this wonderful blueberry pie with lemon pudding and real whipped cream topping on her blog. She credits getting it from Michelle's blog who got it from....well, I don't know, but you get the picture. I love the e-grapevine!

Sarah made this pie last night and, wow! I can't remember the last great dessert I had that took less than 15 minutes to make.

Keep in mind: it's a no-bake! No heating up the kitchen, no messy pie plate to wash later (if you use a storebought graham cracker crust like we did). There's nothing hard about this one--oh, except for waiting patiently for it to chill! It was so good I had my second slice for breakfast. I mean, a girl's gotta have blueberries one way or another, right?

This recipe would be a good one to teach to a newbie in the kitchen. No knives. No hot ovens. Just the satisfaction of whipping cream into a smooth, fluffy topping. and layering it atop a lemon pudding layer and some fresh blueberries. Man, makes me want a third piece just talking about it.

But I have self-control.

I have lots of self-control.

I have enough self-control.

Just step back from the pie and no one will get hurt.


If you don't, I may just have to take matters into my own mouth.

We're having company for dinner. The Blums (pronounced with a long u) are originally from Israel but are now attending a Messianic seminary of sorts in New York for three years. They're down now visiting my folks in Forest Hill. The last time they were in town we wanted to take the Blums to Broom's Blooms. (Say that three times, fast). If it weren't for this great opportunity to give them a taste of Maryland's best ice cream, I would ask Sarah to whip up another one of these pies tonight.)

Monday, July 07, 2008

I Thought it was Funny

Picture this and see if it's not funny to you.

The eye room where Ben was first examined at GBMC was about 8x8 feet.
Ben is 6.5 feet tall.
He was lying on a chair centered between the north and west walls, in a reclining position. Head at the north wall.
The ophthalmologist strapped one of those coal-miner looking magnifier lamps to his own head for a good look into Ben's retina.
But the head lamp was attached to a cord--a cord only about 3 feet long, not stretchy,and attached to the west wall.

Here begins the comedy in my mind.

Doctor realizes he can't get the head lamp close enough to Ben's face, so he asks Ben if he can scoot down. Ben shifts down a little.
Doctor retries.
"Can you scoot a little more?"
Ben scoots more. By this time his feet are nearing the south wall, so the assistant has to move.
The cord can almost reach now.
"Can you scoot down just a little more?"

The head lamp looks ridiculous. The time is 1:30 a.m. I am past giddy watching this doctor trying to appear professional while being pulled up short by his "leash."

I couldn't help it. I burst out laughing. Sure way to embarrass my family.
Ben made a hand motion to me like, "What's so funny?"

I said, "If you were a woman, you'd hear "scoot down a little more--" I couldn't finish my sentence I was so tickled.

He didn't laugh. Either he didn't get it or it truly was not funny. Matter of fact, no one laughed. (Sticks in the mud.)

I asked Paul later, "Can anyone appreciate my jocular, ocular comment?"

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Life is About to Change....Part 2

I could just cut to the chase by doing a cut-and-paste of Beth's last comment. But why be concise when you can be wordy? :)

Yes, we are seriously considering putting Joel in school and me in the workforce. Our reasons are simple, but change is not easy.

I give God thanks for making me perhaps more easily adaptable to change than I might be without my family history of moving. We moved 13 times in my first 11 years and thus learned to flex at an early age. Learned a lot actually, from the experience.

Learned that acquaintances come and go, but true friends are loyal forever. Learned that it's not always beneficial to stay in the same place. Learned that God always prepares the path and holds my hand over the rocks, through the thorns, across the streams, and through the storms. He is faithful. He has my best interest at heart, as well as the best interest of everyone involved in the changes.

At this point it looks as if Joel will be attending first grade our at church school. We have observed just how he thrives in the company of kids his age, yet has none at home. Cousins are all out of state. We haven't made an effort to introduce him to boys his age in the neighborhood because, well, it is a huge effort. We like his friends who are from our church and our sister church; the effort to drive 10, 20, or 30 minutes to make playdates happen is very worth it. Joel comes away so, so happy after days with those boys, even if there've been little feuds.

Joel also needs some classroom savvy and a more disciplined schedule. As I've mentioned, he loved co-op. (Whenever people would ask, "Where do you go to school?" he'd say "Co-op." Who on earth besides another co-op family would understand that answer?)

But homeschooled kids (as I discovered years ago in a co-op) generally aren't trained to be classroom-savvy:

They don't have to raise their hands at home.
A lot of times they snack at will.
They are used to sprawling on floors and sofas to read.
They are not used to waiting to go potty until "class" ends.
They usually don't have timed tests.
Deadlines are negotiable.

All of those are valuable things to have in one's backpack for adulthood. Do I think they're better than the benefits of homeschooling? No, or I wouldn't have invested the past 15 years homeschooling. Do I regret not having sent my older ones to school earlier? Nope. Their exposure to the classroom setting by taking a few courses here and there really put them in good stead. Besides, none of them were as active or quite as social as Joel. (Ben came close.)

But with Joel in school and us carrying medical debts and college expenses, Paul needs me to help pay off some of it. I balked at first. Not at helping shoulder the load, but in giving up the comfortable life I know in this season. I racked up medical bills with my surgery. The way it turned out we messed up the timing. Had we known Paul would change jobs (read: insurance coverages) in March, I would've had the surgery in 2007. And we would have taken care of Stephen's oral surgery, too.

I have several options for work:
-teach 2 art classes at the school (elementary) PLUS:
-tutor at the college
-tutor elsewhere
-look for a job in floral design
-try non-medical caregiving
-teach writing to homeschool highschoolers (I've been asked; my heart is totally there but the money isn't there in return. Agh!)
-a combination thereof
-freelance writing (probably not likely to be published and wonder if tax-wise if it's worthwhile?).

I told Paul I am now (finally!) willing to do whatever it takes to help him shoulder the financial load. It should only be temporary. I was afraid before. Afraid to leave life as I knew it. Afraid to answer to a boss. Afraid I'd either like working outside the home too much or not enough. Afraid I didn't have anything to offer. Afraid that I'd lose touch with my kids.

But God has gently walked me through all those fears and called me to a new level of trust. It's just like moving, except I don't have to pack. I can handle that, with God's help. Would you pray for us in this transition? It still calls for faith to take the next step, whatever that may be.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Boy, a Ball, and a Team of Doctors

Last night around eight, Paul and I were on our way to Giovanni's for a nice dinner and to discuss chapter three of When Sinners Say I Do. Then we got a phone call that changed our plans from Italian to Rushin'.

Ben, our 20 year old, was calling from Beachmont. He was hurt. A teammate's wrist had accidentally konked him in the eye in a game of Tek ball--a combination of soccer and rugby--camp director Paul Twining was concerned he might have a concussion. His pupils weren't dilating evenly. This was the very same game that Stephen got a black eye from JUST LAST WEEK at the same place; the guy he collided with ended up with four staples in his head!

So we did that switch from husband-and-wife -on-a-date mode to mom-and-dad-with-banged-up-kid mode.

An attractive staffer girl greeted us at the pool house . Ben sauntered over to us. Oh, man. He looked bad. In the moonlight the left eye looked a squished metallic silver blue golf ball. We drove him to Patient First and got seen right away. X-rays fine. Slight nausea, no vomiting, no loss of consciousness. The doctor was about to send him home and tell us to wake him every three hours during the night. Then I said, "We have a family history of retinal detachment--and Ben, tell him what you're seeing." When Ben said "horizonal lines, blurry stuff when I look all the way to the left or right, spots of black, weird spots of white," the doctor sent us to GBMC's ER. Mind you, there's an ER right across the street from Patient First, but this doctor said, "Some ERs function more efficiently than others." (What are you saying, doc? Huh? Huh?) He added that GBMC has close ties with the world renowned Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore in the event we needed their expertise.

GBMC saw him right away. It was 10:15 pm. First an ER doc, then a student doc, then the student's teaching doc.
It was a bit comical watching this inexperienced student try to find a seat in front of Ben that would adjust to his height yet still be short enough for her to be comfortable. Both of them had to compromise. The teaching doctor came in at 1:15 and, after an hour of poking, prodding, stretching the eyelid and shining bright magnifiers in his face, determined that Ben had a hole in the superior nasal area of his retina.

The retinal specialist would probably want to evaluate him in the morning. He sent us home, a hard plastic eye patch taped to Ben's face.

We got home at 3:30 a.m and were back at GBMC at 3:30 pm today, the 4th of July. We had the Physician's Pavilion West virtually to ourselves. Just us and a team of doctors. The same teaching doc, the student doc from last night, another student doc, the retinal specialist and one of his colleagues.

The surgeon lasered a circular area completely around the "hole and a half" in the retina to make a protective barrier. He sent Ben home with instructions to wear protective glasses, don't work for at least 2 weeks--maybe four-- no heavy lifting (I was thinking, "no heavier than a load of laundry"), no sports. Ben asked him (taking a fake swing), "How about golf?" and you could see the doctor smile as if to say, "We can't keep you down, boy, unless we straightjacket you!" No, no golf. Don't wanna risk getting re-injured. Ben left feeling defeated and wondering if he could handle "two weeks of total boredom" and how he'd pay his bills without working.

We are so, so thankful this injury wasn't worse.
We are very thankful for the compassionate care he got at Beachmont, Patient First, GBMC's ER and the retinal specialist.
We're thankful for insurance.
We're thankful it was a holiday. There was no wait anywhere!
We're thankful for our eyesight. It's a complex gift of indescribable value.
We're thankful for all the prayers of people who care.

Well now, he is okay, bored senseless and unable to even see the TV screen to enjoy a movie with his dad while the rest of us go watch the fireworks. But he has both eyes and they should be just fine within a month.

Life's a-Changin'

Wow, I get more comments the less I say. Maybe I should take the hint!

Actually, I've drafted the whole post, but when I saw that it was six inches long, I knew most people would skip it, so I'm chopping it up. More later. I have something more pressing to post.

Those who "read below the lines" (good one, Sacha) picked up the hint.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Life, as I Know it, is Probably Gonna Change Soon

The end of an era is bittersweet. For us, it looks like life as I've known and loved is about to change. It's not definite, but talks with Paul over the past several months have swayed in a new direction.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Favorite Way to Eat Blueberries?

Sarah just came home from a blueberry-picking outing with Kelly G. I want to eat them ASAP, but not sure how. What's YOUR suggestion? I have a half quart. (She went along to be a baby holder and picture taker, hence the small amount.)